In a recent EY article and in EYQ’s new Megatrends 2020 report, our analysis highlights the importance of taking a future-back approach when embarking upon — or accelerating — a transformation journey. It’s a process that involves looking ahead and envisioning multiple future scenarios, and then creating a multi-horizon strategic map that walks the future back to today.
These future scenarios present the opportunity for organizations to reframe their future to capture new growth and establish new business models that can deliver short-term and long-term value. Below are four questions every organization should ask itself to spur transformation and reinvention.
1. How do companies create customer intimacy without proximity?
Although consumer responses in the EY Future Consumer Index suggest substantial behavioral shifts, it’s more likely what we’re seeing is the acceleration of a trend at least two decades in the making. Pre-pandemic, many companies weren’t meeting rising customer expectations because they were competing against the small minority of companies who redefined the customer experience and continue to evolve their product or service offerings to personalize, predict and adapt. For those who have fallen behind, the pandemic — and the market shifts it has accelerated — has leveled the playing field.
In the post-pandemic era, companies setting a new benchmark will create customer intimacy through hyper-personalization, predicting what customers want and adapting products or services based on their specific environment without a single face-to-face. EY survey results in Six habits of digital transformation leaders suggest leaders who are laser-focused on their customers do a better job at meeting customer demands and meeting profitability goals.
But that requires trust. While customers are increasingly signalling they are willing to provide more data, they need faith in the organization — or government — they are giving it to. Nearly three-quarters of UK consumers and two-thirds of US consumers in a global ESOMAR and HERE Technologies study indicate a willingness to share personal data, provided companies are transparent about their data collection practices.
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2. Where does employee centricity meet the future of work?
One of the lessons companies have learned from the pandemic crisis is how central employees are to every dimension of the enterprise. They activate the assets, tools and technologies, and serve and delight customers.
Our experience suggests companies that keep employees at the center of their resiliency efforts, purpose and decision-making will accelerate their recovery. It also helps them to find opportunities as they consider what lies beyond the pandemic. For many companies, it’s time to reimagine the digital workforce experience — nearly two-thirds of executives polled in a recent EY webcast on the future of work said they expect a physical return to work with a longer-term transformation ahead. In the physical work environment, a new world awaits as organizations consider real-estate decisions in the context of employee safety and wellbeing. For companies struggling with either too much or too little capacity in their talent pools, future opportunities may include talent sharing across the organization’s broader ecosystem. Emerging technologies can play a key role in filling the skills gap companies were experiencing even before the pandemic, from gamification to on-demand learning.
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